NAHA, Okinawa Pref. – Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui has said the Senkaku Islands, which are Japanese-controlled but claimed by Taiwan and China, actually belong to Japan.
“The land of the Senkaku Islands belongs to Okinawa, therefore it is a territory of Japan,” Lee said, according to an interview carried in the Okinawa Times on Tuesday. “There is no evidence for China’s territorial claim, no matter what it says.” It is not clear which international law China’s claim is based on.”
The island group, in the East China Sea, is known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands, Tiaoyutai in Taiwan and Diaoyu in China.
Lee told the daily that China has no right to the islands unless the claim is based on an appropriate international law or it has occupied the land with military forces.
Diplomatic experts said the comment will likely cause repercussions in China and Taiwan because China sees the islands as belonging to Taiwan, and thus also to China. Taiwan believes the islands are inherent to Taiwan.
The vernacular paper ran the interview, conducted in Taipei on Sept. 16, as part of a series of special interviews for the 30th anniversary of the prefecture’s 1972 reversion to Japanese control after 27 years of U.S. military rule.
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